Girl — what better topic to discuss during vacationing season other than protective styling and travel hair? Womp, not a thing.
Box braids, Senegalese Twists, Faux Locs and Marley Twists. Do you know the difference or steps to take before deciding on what’s best for you? Torn between the four? Well for starters, with any type of hair extension, your rooted hair should first be at an overall healthy state. If it’s weak and damaged, don’t get extra hair to weigh your tresses down! I repeat, don’t. That’s like suicide to your crown. Take care of it, girl.
After assessing your state of hair, give it a really good deep conditioning. When I had loose hair, I’d ALWAYS deep condition for a solid 12 hours (overnight). Apply a deep condition, throw a shower cap on and just let it sit. Worked wonders. Make sure your hair has proper moisture balance before installing anything. Extremely dry hair causes breakage, but of course, who doesn’t know that?
From what I’ve discovered via YouTube, is that you can install your own twists or braids, however, I think twists are a little easier to manage. For me, I’ve always twisted or braided my own hair — and even installed my own locs. So choose the correct hair, proper method, or stylist whom you trust and keep it moving.
(last two strand twists with my own hair and what are now dreadlocks)
Lastly, protective styling doesn’t necessarily mean you take a break from proper hair care. After the installation process, you must still wash your hair every two weeks, oil your scalp, etc. All of that. But don’t over do it on the products. This is NEVER the right thing to do regardless of your style. Too many products cause build up and unnecessary frizz — girl.
Now what’s the difference between the 4?
Boho Box Braids | 3 stranded. You know… Janet in “Poetic Justice”, Paula Jai Parker in “Friday” you ain’t gotta lie Craig, you ain’t gotta lie… Yeah, these won’t unravel as easily as two strand twists.
Senegalese Twists | Basically the regular two strand twisted style, just with the added hair extensions. Take much longer to install and can easily slip or disconnect from your real hair.
Faux Locs | I’m still unsure in going about the right way to describe these. As I’ve seen these “locs” can be created by yarn, human hair and everything else, lol. But obviously there is a route to take when you’re not sure you want to totally commit to real dreadlocks. Ciara, Jhene Aiko and several other celebrities are amongst a few to wear their hair in this style. Let’s make it clear that I’m not against this. Do what you do, girl.
Marley Twists | Two strand twists that are thicker than Senegalese twists. Designed to also give you the “nappy dreadlocks” look. Hence, marley, right?
Dreadlock Tips (update on my hair):
Loc’ing your hair is NOT for the weak! It’s a tough decision, especially if you’re length obsessive. When I first loc’d my hair (picture above), I lost all that length — about 6 inches of length, but on a happier note, I’ve achieved my goal of growing thick locs.
If you’re ready to make that big step, here are my tips on how to achieve thick dreadlocks (don’t take these tips on being right or wrong, this is just what has worked for me):
- What I’ve learned, and this is for ALL naturals + relaxed women, the LESS you MESS, the more healthy and full your crown will be. Over doing it on the styling will thin and break your EDGES + TRESSES. Just let it be.
- Obsessive re-twisting (is what they call it), is doing too much. Re-tightening your roots 2 or 3 times per month will give you very weak, thin locs (but if that’s what you want, go for it.) For me, I semi-freeform which means I maintain my locs with the twisting method, but only once a couple of months. By going this route, your hair will look more full + natural, and your locs will mat up thicker. The only time I’m disobedient with this rule, is when I have an event to attend, in which I only re-tighten the front of my hair.
FIRST MONTH (January 2013)
- Be proactive with water! Not talking shampoo (as shampooing is very important for dread lockers) Cold water helps thicken your locs, and also give you natural moisture; although this piece of advice is more so for new loc’ers. Treat your crown like a plant that you want to grow + grow + grow into something beautiful that never dies.
Fast forward to present day. I pretty much have the same regimen currently. I shampoo my hair once a week (or at least TRY to). I know that the “experts” say that lotion/creamy based shampoos aren’t good for locs (I’m aware), but listen. I have so much shampoo under my tiny beauty cabinet, I just use up whatever I have on hand. The main thing to be aware of, is washing all the GUNK out of your hair that may cause build up from those “creamy poos”; which for that, I use organic, unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar for a thorough rinse before I shampoo my hair. Usually takes me close to an hour for this entire wash process, but hey, treat your hair like a plant, right?
For a leave in conditioner, I currently use: Beautiful Textures Tangle, Taming Leave-In Conditioner (mainly for the smell:), but also because this was one of the leave-in conditioners that I used when I had loose hair. It really helped to define my curls with little to no effort.
For my retightening, I use aloe vera gel (from the plant; can be found at a grocery store in fresh vegetable section). No, this organic product does not do well at keeping my roots twisted for a very long time, but I like using this, for one, it’s organic and water based. Two, come on, aloe vera gel? That just SCREAMS growth. While I’ve been blessed with speedy hair growth during my 27 years, I do believe that aloe vera gel helps to aid in growth + healthiness overall.
**Continue following my dreadlock journey via Instagram: @pslovecharli